//Your life IS worth it//

I remember being 12, when I couldn’t wait until my 13th birthday when I would actually become a teenager and embark on what I thought would be the most amazing adventure, full of new experiences and new people. Five years down the line, I can say that I have had many extraordinary experiences and had some incredible times like 12-year-old me expected, but without a doubt I’ve also had some pretty low points, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. I think being a teenager is one of the most difficult phases of our lives, with pressures from school, family, friends, future plans – not to mention the challenges we face as our bodies and identities change and we discover – or start to discover – who we truly are.

To be honest, there have been times more recently where I have contemplated ending it all, because I didn’t see how all of this struggle would be worth it or how the future could possibly offer me anything to look forward to. I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I ashamed of all the low points I’ve experienced in my life because I know that there are many teenagers out there who will have felt the same way as me at some point in their lives, and that’s okay, because we’re all in this together. I am not alone in this, and neither are you.

I think it’s important that we talk more openly about our feelings. After all, no one tells you life will be easy, so why should we stay quiet to keep up appearances, when chances are most people will know where you’re coming from?

So this is me, talking about how I’ve been feeling recently, because I know that being open about this will not only help me, but there’s the possibility that I could help someone else too. So if that someone is you, if you’ve ever contemplated if your life is really worth whatever difficulties you may be facing, then I want to tell you that it is.

There are hundreds and thousands and millions of people who have gone through what you’re going through and made it out the other side to live happy lives. That doesn’t mean your struggles are any less significant, it just means that you can do this, because you are just as strong and just as worthy of happiness as every one of them.

One thing that gets me through hard times, is remembering that everything I’m going through now will help me to become stronger in the future and make me a more compassionate person and remembering all the things I’ve gone through in the past – however big or small – that felt impossible or unbearable gives me faith that I can get through this, as can you.

Sometimes it can be difficult, even impossible, to imagine life could possibly get better and how you could possibly feel genuine happiness. When it seems like everyone around you has got their life together, and you’re just stuck in a downward spiral of negative thoughts, it will be hard, but oftentimes people’s lives don’t seem as “together” as they do from the outside so you are most definitely not alone.

Within your teenage years it can feel like your under too much pressure from all angles of your life for such a small period of your lifespan, and I’m not going to deny that because it’s true, but what I will tell you is that you’ll some out the other side with so many happy memories of all the incredible things you did and all the fun you had, and you’ll take away from the low points a greater understanding of what it is to be human, a greater compassion for others and a greater appreciation for all the little things in life that have the power to make you happy.

Basically, I’d like to tell you that your life is worth it, you are worth it. You all have amazing futures awaiting you and you have so much potential that you will achieve in one capacity or another. You will meet people who appreciate you and love you. And if it feels like some things in your life aren’t going the way you want, it’s never, ever because you don’t deserve it, or deserve to be happy, it’s because you deserve so much better than that, and it takes time for life to give you what you deserve. But I can tell you that it will be worth it all in the end.

I hope in some way this may have been helpful to you. If not, it has been helpful to me to be more open about my thoughts and this is something I will look back on in the future to remind me of a time when I felt like life was unbearable, but searched for a more optimistic outlook and struggled on through. If I can, I’d like to say that I’m proud of myself for writing this. It’s not the most coherent or logical pieces of writing, it’s just me trying to reach out and make a difference, because if there is anything that my recent mental health has taught me, it’s that I want to use my voice to show others that they’re not alone.

 

//An honest message to myself//

​My heart aches, for friendship, of all things. I don’t know if it’s loneliness or longing or just jealousy. I’m surrounded by people who I call my friends but when I think of how many people I have in my life that I can tell anything to, and who truly understand and who I can be me around, I couldn’t even count them on one hand – there isn’t anyone. I have an awful habit of not letting myself get close to people, intentional or not, I don’t really know why it’s just the way I am. I find it hard to open up to myself at the best of times, let alone other people, so it sort of just feels like all of my friendships are “stuck” in this phase where we can’t become closer because I just can’t take the next step and open up to people and trust people. Most of the time, I can manage. A useful thing about being an introvert is that I don’t mind being in my own company the majority of the time, I don’t need constant human interaction and compassion to survive, but what about to thrive? To truly live?
The truth is, I do get quite lonely and then end up in a cycle of telling myself it’s my own fault for not putting enough into my friendships to help them grow and blossom into something wonderful, something that breathes life into my lungs with every word and moment shared as friends. And then I get cross with myself because it’s stupid really – why can’t I just be like everyone else and trust people enough to open up to them, and let them see who I really am? Maybe it’s because I don’t think I’m worthy of such a friendship, or think I’m annoying people so shut myself off from them more. I hate it but I can’t stop doing it. It’s like a comfort blanket – when I get close to opening up and reaching out to people, I just convince myself that I’m fine or that they don’t care about me and just crawl back into my little bubble. 
Really, I am too overprotective of myself, not wanting to let myself get hurt – I know this is something that I’m guilty of. But surely this is worse? Surely this hurts more? Constantly feeling on the outside, that all my friendships are really shallow and that if I’m having a bad day, no one bothers to check up on me because they all just assume there’s someone else I go to when I need cheering up, but there isn’t, not really. I do have the blog squad, and don’t get me wrong I love them and am very grateful for them, but it still doesn’t stop me craving friendship. 
Then I just wonder am I just being ridiculous and overexagerating? I can’t be the only person who feels so isolated from their friends and just wants to find someone who understands them for who they truly are, so why should I complain about it? I don’t know. I just really don’t know anymore. 
What hurts more, is finding people that I do feel comfortable around and that I really value our friendship, only to discover that to them I’m just another friend – this has happened with a lot of my friends at college recently and it just makes me feel so empty after investing time into friendships that were never meant to be more than just casual friends.
But I’ll survive. I’ll wake up tomorrow ready to fight through the day and this feeling for however long it takes.
Thanks for always being there to listen guys, I really appreciate it.

//Revision/A Level tips!!//

I can’t believe it’s March already! That means I’ve been at college for 7 months and am well into my first year of A Levels. With exam season nearing ever closer, I started revising a few weeks ago and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to say the least, so I thought I’d share a few revision tips I’ve learnt over the past few weeks and just general tips for studying A Levels in general! Obviously if you’re not studying A Levels, you can still adapt these tips to help you and feel free to comment more advice below. 🙂

Make sure you have a good set of notes to revise from
This is something that ideally you should do as you go along, rather than in the last few months before exams. Always make sure your notes are up to scratch after each lesson and consult the course books to see if any extra detail can be added. I know some people like to do this by just rereading their notes after lesson and checking they’ve got all the information they need on that topic, and others who rewrite their notes to make sure they have a neat set of notes which are set out clearly and will make the revision process easier. I do the latter in a way – since September I have been rewriting my notes after each lesson onto little index cards which have turned out to be really useful to help with revision as all the information is laid in manageable, bite-sized chunks. But do whatever works for you, just make sure you have covered all the information required before the time revision starts so you’re not learning something for the first time just before your exams.

Make sure you know the course content

This sort of links in with the last point – in order to have good notes from which to revise, you need to make sure you’re keeping up with the required course content. You can do this by checking the text book after lesson to see if there’s anything you’ve missed or downloading the specification for your course from the exam board website which will tell you exactly what you are required to know as part of the course. 

Also sometimes you won’t have time to cover all of the course content in lesson – I know sometimes we don’t have time to study a chapter or two (or three or four *cough cough GEOGRAPHY*) but make sure you don’t leave this until revision starts because it will just be added stress to try to learn something for the first time whilst revising everything else! A good way to avoid this is use half-terms to catch up on any chapters/topics you may have not had time to cover that term before you move on to the next unit and completely forget about all the stuff you missed out. 

Revision timetables can be flexible

Whilst I’d definitely recommend making a revision timetable to help you structure and organise your revision and ensure you have adequate time to cover all the topics before exams arrive, your timetable doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can seem quite daunting to have a set list of things you need to do and sometimes I find it stresses me out because it can feel like revision is taking over my life and I constantly worry over the fact that I have to revise depositional landforms or the prohibition era today and I can’t relax until I’ve done it, which is quite frankly stress I don’t need! So I’ve discovered that not having a fixed timetable is more relaxing and productive. 

When I’m making a timetable, I  will assign a subject for revision to particular days (e.g. Monday’s = geography, Tuesday’s = history) BUT I don’t force myself to stick to doing those things on those days. Sometimes I’ll get home after a long day at college on Monday and won’t feel like spending more time on geography after my 3.5 hrs of geography lessons,so I’ll do history or French instead. Or other times I’ll be really tired so take an evening off and reschedule that revision to later on in the week. Or I’ll do half of the planned revision and do the rest the next day/before college if I have some spare time. The only restrictions I would advise to place on your revision timetable even if you want to make it as flexible as possible, is to complete all the revision planned for that week before the start of the next week, because putting revision off until it piles up does not help and you’d just get so behind. 

For some people, having a rigid timetable might work, but if you’re like me and having set times to certain things stresses you out more, then adopting a strategy like this might work!

This week I did my geography revision on Monday evening and Tuesday morning instead and will do the history revision later on in the week, probably Friday evening.

Take advantage of moments of motivationSomething a lot of people struggle with during the revision process is motivation. It can seem like revision is a never-ending process and after a while it can get repetitive and tedious, causing you to want to give up. That’s why it’s a good way to take advantage of moments of motivation – if you suddenly get an urge to go over standard deviation or the imperfect tense, there’s no point forcing yourself to revise the acceleration of globalisation just because it’s scheduled on your revision timetable. This links in again with the last point about flexible timetabling – at the end of the day you’re going to be most productive if you’re revising something that you want to revise and are feeling motivated to revise in that moment. That being said, don’t use this an excuse to put off topics that are harder/are less interested in – even if you have to make deal with yourself to revise a harder topic than an easier topic that you enjoy more. It’s all about finding a varied balance of revision to keep you engaged. 

Revision is very much trial and error

At GCSE I found it was fairly easy to just revise each subject in the same way – by making mindmap, flashcards, rewriting notes etc – but since starting A Levels in September I’ve found it much harder to revise for them. For one thing, the subjects are much more diverse meaning certain revision methods work for some subjects or units and not others, which does mean you have to plan your revision more carefully to ensure you give yourself enough time to revise in he most effective way for each unit – saldy last minute cramming DOES NOT work with A Levels! Secondly, there is just so much content in A Levels that some revision techniques are just too time-consuming to be effective – it’s all about finding the balance between efficiency and effectiveness which might take a lot of trial and error.

For example I reluctantly came to the conclusion yesterday that my method of revising French had not been working for the past few weeks, but that’s okay because if you start revising a bit earlier than needed, you can evaluate your revision process as you go along and if you find, like me, that something isn’t working, you have enough time to fix it without losing valuable revision time. 

So that’s a few tips that I’ve learnt from studying A Levels and attempting to figure out how the heck it’s possible to revise SO MUCH content for the exams in the summer, hopefully they’ll be useful to some of you and if you have anymore advice you’d like to share regarding revision, please feel free!

//The struggle of fitting in//

Something I’ve been struggling a lot with recently is feeling lonely. It’s about weird really, and I don’t really understand it nor like it. It’s just sort of like, even when I am surrounded by my friends or my family, I’m not really “there”. I mean, physically I am there, but I’m struggling to feel like part of the group a lot. 

It’s sort of like when you think you’ve found people who are similar to you and you fit in with, they understand you and then after a while everyone starts to change and develop their friendships but I’m just sort of stuck in the past being the same old me wishing things could go back to how they were. I guess it’s like feeling disconnected? I don’t know. But it’s always in the back of my mind, this fuzzy thought that I don’t belong here or fit in, and that’s probably the reason why I keep feeling like this because I don’t allow myself to adapt to changing social situations and group dynamics, not because I don’t want to but because I don’t know how.

It’s just..quite frustating I guess, because now I’m sort of stuck back in the same place I was a few months ago before I’d made new friends. And now it’s like a never ending cycle of feeling alone and “outside”. 

Yeah not the most cheerful post,sorry about that, I just needed to put this down in words in the hope that it might disperse some of the fog that’s currently clouding over my mind. 

Hope you’re all doing well. 😊

//Each life is a journey//

I wish I could say these words were my own – they are so pure and inspiring and full of a wisdom which  I do not possess. In fact, they are taken from the introduction and ending of the episode of Call the Midwife that aired on the BBC on Sunday. When I heard them, they resonated with me and gave me hope to cling onto and the reassurance I need to perservere and stay on my path through life. I thought I’d share them with you, incase you’re feeling a little lost and need to be guided on your way.

Each life is a journey, defined by the turns we take and the roads we choose or which fate chooses for us.

Some travel geographically, trading home for home and one language for another.

But we all move from youth to maturity, childhood to parenthood, as if we were traversing continents.

The world shifts and the climate alters.

Safe passage cannot be bought and we have no holy passport to protect us.

Sometimes there is no map for the road we find ourselves upon.

It lies ahead, uncharted, unfurling into mist.

We are all travelling through one another’s countries.

But it is no matter if we meet as strangers, for we can join forces and learn to love.

And where there is friendship and affection, there is the place we can all call home.

//The Finding Our Feet Project: FINISHED//

Almost a month ago now, Victoria (hermionefowl) from Addlepates and Booknerds, Eve (appletaile) from Twist in the Taile and I launched the Finding Our Feet Project with the aim of uniting the teens and young people of the blogosphere by creating a video comprising of short messages of advice/support for other teens, with the theme of finding our place (or ‘feet’) in the world.

Why you might ask? Well,  being a teenager is hard and we face many struggles throughout our teenage years, not only due to the process of growing up it’s self but with the added pressure and expectations kindly (haha…NO) provided by our parents, schools and just society in general. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are not alone. We hope that the end product – a YouTube video – will serve as a reminder that no matter where you are in the world, the teen blogosphere is always here to support you.

So, we asked you to send in short video clips of you walking and a message of advice/support that you’d like to share with other young people and like the amazing people you are, you did! Victoria, Eve and myself are very happy to say that after weeks of editing and organising, the Finding Our Feet Project video is now finished!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the project and of course to my wonderful editors, brainstormers, advisers and friends Victoria and Eve for helping make the project more than I could have ever imagined. ❤

The video is up on my YouTube channel – Em Is Lost – for you all to watch and it will stay there forever. We hope that the video will represent all that we wanted it to and will remind you that you are not alone, not ever. So, without further or do, here is the finished video. 🙂